Little Miss turns three on August 1. You remember the jokes about how the second child ends up with the short end of the stick? Hand me down clothes instead of new…. No baby classes…. Being carted around in the stroller during naptime to follow the older siblings’ schedules….
Little Miss was lucky. She had none of this. Since her older sibling is a boy, the only hand me downs she gets are his pjs, and she loves him. While she also coveted his outgrown underwear, I drew the line there. She got to go to gymnastics and other classes when she was little, and I always honored her naps (and do to this day).
In the past few days, I’ve received a number of birthday invitations for the wee ones for their friends with summer birthdays. In fact, the most recent count is eight (yes, eight!) birthday parties between now and August 24.
As I hung them all up around my calendar (I’ve learned the hard way that I need the physical invite to show up to the right place at the right time), I realized that I haven’t sent out invitations to Little Miss’s party yet. It’s now officially three weekends until the weekend closest to her birthday.
So I started looking at the calendar.
I can’t do it the weekend before (first of all, we have another birthday party that weekend and it’s way too soon to send out invites now). This is where planning this a month ago would have come in handy.
The weekend of her birthday already has two parties on the 2nd — both ironically are pirate themed parties within an hour and a half of each other that had invitations arrive on the same day. The third is my dad’s birthday, plus a neighbor is moving away, and I’m supposed to help host a going away party that day.
The next weekend has my MIL, FIL, BIL, his girlfriend AND my husband’s best friend in town visiting Thursday through Sunday. While in some families this might constitute a great weekend for a party with all the extra hands to help, let’s just say that isn’t the case with my in-laws. Besides, my husband is going to three baseball games in two days with his best friend (one with his brother and the girlfriend), which leaves me alone to entertain. And I have a birthday party for good friends of mine in the neighborhood that Saturday AND a 40th birthday party for a good friend that night.
So now I’m looking at the following weekend. Two weeks after her birthday seems so sad to me. Am I a bad mom for not getting her party in before then? The good news is that she’ll be able to drag it out longer, but really that’s just good news for her and not for me, I suppose.
The plus side is that I at least know what I’m going to do for an activity and party favor. I always do parties at my house — Mister Man’s this year will be the first that I haven’t — which frequently involves a lot of work and thought. The train theme where I had three year olds following train tracks on a treasure hunt to find puzzle pieces for the puzzles they took home that ended at the train cookie decorating table was pretty cool. Ditto with the chocolate party that I replicated from a local business at home. But lots of work.
So for Little Miss this year? We’re praying for decent weather so we can play outside — preferrably off my landscaping. The past two birthday parties have involved rain for a half hour and always in the middle of the party versus earlier or later in the day. And I found a neighbor who has a business where she makes stuffed animals that the kids stuff themselves, name, and dress. She’s pretty laid back about it, which means she charges me just for the animals and clothes and doesn’t require that she’s there, which makes it that much more expensive. Ta-da — once again, the activity becomes the party favor.
The tough part for me right now is the guest list. I’ve thusfar for Mister Man always invited all the kids in his classes, plus our playgroup friends and select other good friends. This is the first year that Little Miss has been in preschool. But her birthday is August, so we haven’t seen the majority of these people since school let out. And she’s going to a different preschool this fall (which is also now up in the air and subject to a different post someday soon), where only a few kids from her previous class will go.
When I asked her who she wanted to invite to her party, she named off 6 of the 12 kids in her class, including both boys and girls. I can’t invite over half the class and not the other half, right? But does it look weird to invite kids that we’re not so likely to see that often (until kindergarten or at the park or library or soccer camp) even though she was pretty good friends with them during the year?
I feel a little better about this in that one of the pirate birthday invites we received was for a boy in Mister Man’s preschool class that we’re again not likely to see again (he’s turning 5 and going to kindergarten, while Mister Man turns 5 in October and misses the cutoff). And the size of the party isn’t really an issue either, as the guest list right now is 23 with 12 of the 23 being siblings from the same families and I’ve had up to 32 kids in my house for a party with no problems before.
One way or the other, I need to make a decision quickly though. Otherwise, the poor girl is going to be looking at photo albums when she’s in high school (assuming I’ve printed and filed pictures from when she was two and three by then) wanting to know why she didn’t have a party and her brother always did.